With Hollywood bringing low spotlight characters like Ant-Man and Squirrel Girl to the big screen, a lot more comic book characters are gaining some well-deserved recognition. Comic book companies tend to cater to the public, and what they see as being popular moneymakers are almost unanimously the ones who get the most advertisement and screen time. Granted, these big-screen superheroes and supervillains often get the credit they deserve. Most of them have great backstories and unique plot points that make them resonate with the public that views them and learns about them as characters.
Unfortunately, this rule does tend to exclude characters from the comics that have not seen as much ink or history, even though their stories and personalities are more than worthy of being shown on the big screen. Often enough, these characters show a lot of promise and, if they were given the attention and ink they deserve, would find themselves in the echelons of the greats!
With a nod to the underdog, and an effort to reveal some of the lesser-known characters, I’d like to present a list of fifteen Marvel characters that you may or may not have heard of. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I’d be happy to hear what you think! Did I miss a character? Do you agree with this list? Find me on Twitter and let me know!
15. Cosmo the Spacedog
Even though he is a valued member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, he received surprisingly little time in the movie. Cosmo is a Soviet-born, telepathic canine who heads the security team aboard the space station Knowhere. He is no slouch when it comes to his powers, either. In fact, Cosmo may be one of the most powerful members of the Guardians. His portfolio of powers includes just about anything that resembles a mind power, including telepathy, telekinesis, the ability to create illusions, psionic shielding, camouflage, mind control, psionic blasts and he is known to live an incredibly long time, especially for a dog. One of Cosmo the Spacedog’s most notable achievements, of which there are many, was locking the being known as Abyss in his prison.
Jean-Paul Beaubier, also known as Northstar, is a bona fide badass. Actively recruited by Professor Xavier to join the X-Men, Northstar not only joined them, but actually became one of the teachers at the institute. In any universe he becomes a part of, he seems to die inexorably and inexplicably. He is widely known as the first openly gay character in any Marvel comic series, and is considered to be one of the first openly gay characters in any comic book series. Northstar has a powers portfolio that seems to be a mixture of The Flash and Superman rolled into one. In addition to a heightened equilibrium that allows him to perform incredible feats of agility, he can also fly at insane speeds that are rumored to equal light speed. A punch like this has even injured The Hulk, himself.
The Swarm is considered one of the most dangerous and creepy supervillains in the Marvel universe. He is mainly the antagonist of Spider-Man. The thing that makes him cool is the same thing that makes him so utterly reviled among other Marvel characters, as well as anyone who reads comics that he is involved in. Swarm is barely a man at all, physically speaking. He is a skeleton covered in “flesh” that is composed entirely of hundreds of thousands of bees. Because of his body’s composition, he can take any shape he pleases. Though he started out only being able to control bees, he has since gained the ability to completely control insects. He never made it to the big screen, but he did make it into the Broadway musical, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark.
In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Blink is portrayed by Chinese actress Fan Bingbing and exists in a post-apocalyptic timeline that Wolverine is sent to try to prevent. When Hercules travels to the underworld, Blink is there, so we can only assume that prevention of the apocalypse corresponds to her death in that universe. She is assumed to be a descendant of the godlike Apocalypse, himself. She is capable of teleportation, not only of herself but also of groups of people. She has an incredible ability to focus her teleportation in destructive ways by teleporting only parts of objects or people. She can also charge objects similarly to Gambit, but hers teleport any matter that has been hit. Her story is fantastic, and her blood relation to Apocalypse makes her one of the coolest characters Marvel has to offer.
11. Bob, Agent of Hydra (Deadpool Spoiler)
Ah, good old Bob. He was one of the characters that Ryan Reynolds did so, so right in his Deadpool movie. Even though he is an agent of the nearly infamous terrorist organization, Hydra, Bob is actually considered an anti-hero. Bob has no superpowers. He has no combat skill or tactical knowledge. He doesn’t really do anything. Bob is really just a guy that likes the insurance Hydra offers. It’s a good job, with great benefits! Hydra has even trained him in such skills as “hiding behind each other” and “they can’t see you if you can’t see them!” Deadpool is quoted in one of his comics to have mentioned that he is better at running away than anyone else. And he also saved Deadpool’s life, once.
Oh my god, Gwenpool. Featured only a handful of times, once in Howard the Duck and once in her own spinoff comic book, Gwenpool is another character that seems to break the fourth wall. She claims to have arrived in the Marvel universe via “the real world.” Claiming that she didn’t want to be “an extra,” she went to a tailor tailored (get it?) specifically to super-hero costumes and asked for something that would allow her to really shine. The tailor actually gave her the name she uses, having misread the name on her receipt from “Gwen Poole” to Gwenpool. Gwen Poole has no super powers to speak of, but her vast knowledge of the Marvel universe, such as secret identities and weaknesses, gives her a truly feared reputation.
Husk is one of the coolest (or hottest depending on who you ask) women of the Marvel universe, and has an uncanny method of using her superpowers. She sheds her outermost layer of skin, or her “husk,” in order to reveal a different form beneath. Her new composition can be made of any material that she has had a chance to study, herself.
Though she most often takes a form that is “like herself,” she is capable of taking other shapes as well, so long as it doesn’t exceed her own body mass. As awesome as she is, Husk has never made it to the big screen, or even television. Where she would have appeared in Generation X, she was instead replaced by the super-strong Buff. The reason given was that her powers were too expensive to animate. Well, I say we give her a few million bucks and see where it goes!
8. The Klyntar
Though mentioning Venom or Carnage immediately brings about well-known characters of the Marvel Universe, there is often little known about the symbiotes themselves. The Klyntar are, surprisingly, benevolent creatures from the Andromeda Galaxy who actually tried to create a utopia among the other races in the universe. The problem was that unless the host for their symbiosis was of perfect physical and moral character, the symbiote would become corrupted, and in turn, would corrupt the host. This made the symbiotes wild and unpredictable, and lead to the downfall of their civilization. The corrupted Klyntar traveled through space and tore civilizations apart, spreading misinformation about their benevolent counterparts. Though the benevolent Klyntar can live with a host indefinitely, the corrupted ones use up their host’s body, feeding on adrenaline and other hormones, eventually killing it.
Speaking of the Klyntar, there is one symbiote that is lesser known, but would no less make an excellent and terrifying supervillain in any Hollywood Marvel movie. This creature is a terribly corrupted symbiote that feeds on humans, eating their brains. This behavior, aside from Zzzxx, is unknown to any other symbiote. No one knows why he feeds on brains, but it is understood that he can control his host’s mind as well.
Zzzxx is listed as one of the top five most dangerous criminals in the known universe, and because of his evil, voracious appetites, Zzzxx was locked away on a prison planet. There is very little that is truly known about this symbiote, since he may not even be Klyntar, but his evil power deserves quite a lot more ink, and a shot at the big screen, don’t you think?
Xorn has a confusing character backstory and arc that may contribute to this awesome character being blacklisted from the big screen. He began his career as a Chinese superhero with “a star for a brain.” Later, he was revealed to be magneto in disguise. After that, he was revealed never to have been Magneto at all. It was a clever disguise aided by wearing a rendition of Magneto’s helmet. When Xorn first manifested his powers, witnesses said that his head burned away, revealing a tiny star that can emit a blinding light. He exhibits the ability to manipulate gravity and electromagnetism, likely by way of the star that sits over his shoulders. He exhibits insane healing factor, rivaling that of Wolverine, and does not need to eat, breath or even sleep.
Did you know that Death is actually a character in the marvel Universe? Not Lady Death, who belongs in a list like this one, but actual Death. Though death is an abstract idea in the Marvel Universe and does not have any powers per se, the fact that he can speak and think and reason tends to leave readers a bit dismayed, if not in awe. Death is actually featured in a lot of Marvel media, but most notably, Death is given an aesthetic revision in the Deadpool video game and becomes one of Deadpool’s love interests. Oh yeah, in almost every rendition of death in the Marvel Universe, Death appears like a beautiful, buxom beauty with a skull for a face. Maybe it’s paint. Who knows.
What about Dracula? Not many people know that Dracula himself, a la Bram Stoker, is an active member of the Marvel universe. With that premise in mind, the idea of other vampires existing isn’t far fetched at all. In fact, we now come to Morbius, the Living Vampire. Though he fought against Spiderman on several occasions, he is considered an anti-hero and is a tragically flawed protagonist, his vampirism having been inflicted on the doctor due to a biochemical experiment rather than a bite or other biological means. Though this has caused him to grow fangs and forced him to ingest human blood to survive, he does not suffer weaknesses to running water, crosses or garlic like a normal vampire. He does, however, have very photosensitive skin which causes an aversion to sunlight.
Never in a million years would I have ever considered an insect even remotely attractive, but in the case of Wasp, I am willing to make this one exception. She is capable of growing and shrinking, and has insectoid wings like that of a wasp. She can also fire devastating bio-electrical blasts. IGN noted her as being the 99th greatest comic book hero of all time. She makes a cameo appearance in Ant-Man, but may indeed deserve a spin-off of her own. Marvel.com ranked her as the 5th greatest Avenger of all time. She has been in several television shows, made cameos in several movies and is present in a vast number of video games. In spite of this, she remains one of the lesser-known superheroes.
Kevin Ford, also known as Wither, is one of the many students at the Xavier Institute. He is one of the many tragic superheroes whose first manifestation of their power hurt or killed a loved one. In his panic, when his powers first manifested, his father tried to calm him down. Kevin’s father was reduced to dust. Therein lies Wither’s power. He decays and eventually turns to dust any organic matter he touches. This power is involuntary. Unfortunately, this power is more difficult to deal with, as it comes with a kind of “hunger,” which causes Kevin to desire to use it. No one knows if this is psychological or something else. His vision is changed by it as well, and he often sees things in their decayed form.
The creators of sentry wanted to create what they described as “an over the hill guy, struggling with addiction, who had a tight relationship with his dog.” The character became a guardian-type character that the Marvel universe needed. Originally called centurion, his name eventually became Sentry as an homage to who he was and what he did. He has since acquired a very extensive story and plot arc. In addition to his massive plotlines, Sentry also remains one of the most powerful superheroes of all time and is said to have to constantly keep his powers in check. His powers derive from a serum that causes his molecules to exist a moment ahead of the current time. In one plotline, he actually ripped Carnage apart by hand.